Thousands gathered at the State House in Columbia to cheer the removal of the red, white and blue Civil War-era battle flag, regarded by many as a bitter symbol of racism and slavery that has no place in modern America.
But it was after a week of funerals for the nine churchgoers who were gunned down by a white man in a historic black church in Charleston with the alleged intent of “starting a race war” that Nikki Haley said she decided that the flag had to come down.
“He’s a murderer, he’s not a Southern murderer, he’s a murderer, that was South Carolina’s business, I don’t like the way that it’s rolled over into other states, it’s affected Sons of Confederate Veterans flags on their tags, they’re attacking the flags in cemeteries, they’re attacking monuments and that’s wrong”.
“We commend South Carolina lawmakers for taking this action to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds”, NCAA Board of Governors representative Kirk Schulz said in a statement. In a 2001 referendum, Mississippi voted to keep the Confederate symbol on the flag – a fact several legislators cited when contacted by the state’s leading newspaper, the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson.
Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, says the response is South Carolina is encouraging.
“We need a kind of mental cleansing down here”, Potok said.
The Confederate flag was unofficially lowered on June 27 from the South Carolina statehouse – two weeks before it was officially taken down by vote of the legislature.
As the flag came down, Haley joined family members of the victims and other dignitaries on the steps of the Statehouse, and while she didn’t speak, she nodded and smiled after someone in the crowd shouted: “Thank you governor”.
Maybe I’m just optimistic. “This is a story about the history of South Carolina“, Haley said Thursday.
I saw this first-hand when I traveled to the University of Georgia in Athens to ask students at one of the largest schools in the South what they thought about the flag controversy.
“It’s satisfying that they got caught”, his mother, Janet Brinkley, told delaware.com.
But the rebel banner that will be removed Friday from the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol has faded from stage and song, with many country artists quietly distancing themselves from the emblem that used to feature prominently in merchandise, lyrics and concerts. The swift decision to remove the flag comes five decades after it was raised to commemorate the American Civil War’s centennial and remained at the Statehouse to protest the civil rights movement. That design lasted only until 2003, when Barnes lost re-election and his Republican successor signed a bill into law restoring the stars and bars-inspired design.
The Confederate flag has been part of the historical display, along with the other flags, since the 1990s, Hernandez said.
“We will take our first bite at the elephant, and digest it one bite at a time”, Fort said last month.
The dispute in Congress over the Confederate flag threatened Friday to upend House Republican plans to move forward on routine spending legislation, amid concerns that Democrats could hijack the bills to debate the flag.
“The tragedy was a tragedy”.
Auclair, who said he never stocked any of the flags in his Gorham store but would order them on occasion for customers, said most people he has had to turn away recently have been understanding.